The big question in my English 3372 class was whether or not big brother is alive and well and living on the internet. The boogey man here was not any of the usual suspects though. No, the fingers were all being pointed at the likes of Google, Amazon, Facebook, and just about any other large internet presence.
Why exactly are these various corporations being found guilty of all sorts of random crimes against humanity? Basically it all boiled down to three words that most of us gloss over when signing up for services or installing software: Terms of Service. Unlike most folks, I have actually read many, many terms of services (not sure how to pluralize that one). Trust me when I say there is always something in them that would give most people pause. The big one though is a clause that is almost always worded like this “we have the right to alter or change this agreement at anytime, with or without notification”.
Think about that for a minute. No, keep thinking, that was only 20 seconds. It’s okay, I will wait. Good. Now, what that means is huge. They can literally change their agreement to screw you over any legal way possible and there is very little you can do about it.
So what’s my point? My point is this: know what you are getting in to. Once you are in it; keep up with it. If or when a company or piece of software makes changes to their terms that you disagree with stop using them. It really is that simple. Alternatives exist. Are the alternatives better? Maybe, maybe not. You won’t know until you move on. The simple fact is that corporations have every right to censor their products. They have every right to give or take away free services as they see fit. As long as that censorship is not government sanctioned, you have no real recourse save for one: move on and try something else.